Eve Mitleton-Kelly has summarized the theories of complexity into five categories. Four of the categories arise from various natural sciences studying complex systems, and the fifth one mostly arises from economic and social studies, which deal with social systems path-dependence, increased returns and emergence. Mitleton-Kelly raises Brian W. Arthur’s theory into the core of that fifth research area of complexity research. With this article, I want to broaden our understanding related to that area. Therefore, I here discuss three additional inter- or transdisciplinary theories, which deal with the same themes. The theories are: Malaska’s theory, Naisbitt’s theory, and the Theory of energy as the driver of all societal transformation. The theories may be considered as additional benchmarking views for the fifth area, or even its new independent parts.
Several studies have suggested that it is difficult to manage projects using the traditional model of project management. Researchers have proposed multiple perspectives to identify and manage such projects. This paper provides a perspective based on a complexity theory framework. Since a project exhibits the characteristics of a complex system, we postulate that the method to manage such a project is embedded in its contextual history. Such a method cannot be predicted a priori but will rather emerge from the interactions between the project elements and the environment.
The spiritual dimensions of occupation are explored using a dynamic systems model to address the interrelationships between spirit-mind-body-world. A deeper appreciation of the wholeness of human occupation emerges within a spiritual paradigm reflecting the fundamental complexity, nonlinear processes, and pattern flow formation of dynamic human occupation. Emergent perceptions about life-meaning, purpose, and identity are understood through the model of intention, meaning, and perception, influencing the system-wide changes that occur during spiritual occupation. Viewing spiritual occupation as both the creative process (means) and as engagement in spiritual activities (ends), which sustain and support life and health, affords a nonlinear view of the spiritual dimensions of personal growth through the process of self-organization and self-transcendence. Thus, facilitating a deeper conceptualization and understanding of human beings. Dynamic systems modeling of broad and deep spiritual occupations further validates the theory and practice of occupational therapy by addressing the full complexity of occupation as an embodied process of spirit-mind-body and world.
This is the second segment of a two-part paper, which attempts to strengthen a bridge between theoretical and practical worlds by bringing information from organizations to complexity theorists. It is written as a boundary object to encourage further research, dialogue and conclusions. This paper focuses on one theme from complexity and new science literature: the theme of boundaries. A relatively new methodology, phenomenography, is used as an inductive method of inquiry to explore qualitatively different ways in which published authors and graduate students understand the related concepts of boundary, edge and periphery. These authors’ unsolicited views of the boundary concept ranged from micro to macro in scale, and from detached observation to personal activism in nature. This study suggests that boundaries are important areas for learning, growth, risk, and observation and repair of systemic challenges, and that they deserve further iterative or collaborative research in relation to complexity thinking.
What if the postmodernists’ main message about uniqueness and idiosyncrasy of individual humans is taken seriously? What if Wittgenstein’s suggestion about philosophy as the “critique of language” in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (later TLP, 4.0031) is taken seriously? Then individual humans are placed at the top of the diversity chain of nature in the Prigoginean sense (Prigogine, 1997: 70; Gulbenkian Commission, 1996: 61). The purpose of my text is to show that if we consider the other end of ontology, nominalism1, as only denying the existence of universal concepts, as for example Dieterle (2001) does, we miss the essence of nominalism, i.e., agency, and are still encased in language for the next hundred years. Respectively anti-positivism still needs some substance but it is too often narrowed down to asymmetry of power, i.e., diversity that can actually be seen as the starting point of nominalism. What is claimed is that agency is the essence of both anti-positivism and nominalism. And if so, maybe we can eliminate nonsensical dichotomies and paradoxes sooner or later if we believe Wittgenstein: “language disguises thought” (TLP 4.002)
Michael Polanyi’s concepts of tacit knowing and emergence are foundational to complexity thinking. The purpose of this essay is to question Polanyi’s ways of theorizing the concepts in order to develop lines of inquiry that warrant contemporary examination. One contribution is to look at several types of tacit in Polanyi’s work so that they might be compared in future investigations. This contribution centers on the occurrences of transcendental and moral reasoning in what is purported to otherwise be a pragmatist view of the world. A second contribution is to question hierarchical-ordering in emergence theory in order to move from systems to complexity formulations. I shall argue that both tacit knowing and emergence are mired in systems thinking views of hierarchic order of reality.
Some of us look out over a landscape and think, what’s missing from this picture? Others, myself included, look at that same landscape and ask, what could be there? The first approach views the landscape as a list of possibilities, with a prescribed population filled with specific needs. The latter views the landscape as a […]